Nestled in the heart of Outremont is a treasure that has escaped our hungry gaze for far too long. How often can you say you eat Moroccan food? Don’t answer if you’re from Morocco… We don’t eat it very often, but we’d love to! And now we can, at La Cuisine d’Izza.
When you walk in, you’ll fall in love with simply the décor. The blue patterned banquettes and azure walls contrast nicely with the bright yellow tables. Sit at one of these tables or perhaps at the bar, where you can look at the intricate knick knacks displayed on the shelves. You’re truly immersed in Moroccan culture.
If you’re in the mood for a drink, look no further! Their cocktail menu was created with the help of Le 4e mur, the hottest speakeasy in Montreal. We tried their Arak cocktail, a traditional Middle Eastern alcohol that tastes like black licorice, and it was perfection.
To start with appetizers, try their artichoke and parmesan dip ($10) with two types of homemade pita chips: harissa and lemon confit. The dip is piping hot and full of flavour. Great for scooping up with those pita chips (or your hands – we don’t judge).
Another incredible appetizer is their leek pastel with labneh dip ($7), a strained yogurt cheese. The pastel is made of leeks and potatoes and pure deliciousness. Make sure to dip it in the labneh and watch your taste buds explode.
For mains, we loved the Moroccan couscous ($12) with caramelized onions, raisins, and prunes served with artichoke hummus. Get it with both chicken and merguez or the full Moroccan experience. The sweet and salty flavour combination blew our mind, and we’ve been searching for recipes to make at home ever since.
Our next main meal is the Shakshuka and kefta tajine ($14). A tajine is named after the pot it is cooked in. It has a conical lid and the vapour created during cooking (without adding extra water) condenses into water which then runs the side of the pot. This tajine made a Shakshuka, two poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce, a side of kefta, and labneh for dipping.
For dessert, prepare to be blown away with their Halva mousse with fig jam ($6). Halva is traditionally called Halawa, and it tastes like childhood for Middle Easterns. It’s a dessert traditionally of tahini base (sesame) but can be made with other nut butters. Often, whole nuts are added into the mix for extra crunch. La Cuisine d’Izza turned our beloved Halva into a mousse, and we were positively singing!
Another incredible dessert that will appear on their summer menu is the toffee pudding date cake. It was moist, rich, and an explosion of flavour. If you can’t choose a dessert, get both and share!
La Cuisine d’Izza is an inexpensive fun night out where you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the oohs and aahs coming out of your mouth.